Printed on: March 24, 2013

Just in case ...

By Mike Mooney

SHELLEY -- Be prepared.

After all, once disaster strikes, it's too late to start planning for your survival.

For many of those who visited the annual Shelley-Firth Community Preparedness Fair on Saturday, weathering a calamity -- be it terrorist attack, hurricane-driven flood or worldwide economic collapse -- starts with self-reliance.

Bob and Thelma Welker are preparedness veterans.

"We've been here before. We come to get (new) ideas," Thelma Welker said.

Food storage.

Food preparation.

Devices that can be used without electricity.

"We're interested in all those things," Thelma Welker said.

Her husband nodded in agreement.

"We don't want to be caught without," Bob Welker said.

His wife finished the thought: "And (would like) to have some to spare if we need to."

Vendors and survivalists came armed with a wealth of product options and advice -- everything from dehydrated food with a guaranteed 25-year shelf life to putting together a 96-hour survival kit to drawing up a family emergency plan.

Jeff and Jaime Bailey of Idaho Falls, with their three youngsters in tow, were attending their first preparedness fair. They poured over a list of classes, trying to decide which ones they couldn't miss.

"We're trying to fill in holes and gaps (in our knowledge)," Jeff Bailey said. "We're interested in preparedness."

They've built their family's preparedness slowly, starting out with a month's worth of food in storage and gradually expanding their storehouse.

When Jeff Bailey lost his job, the family was prepared.

They used food from their storehouse to supplement store-bought goods and survived for nine months, Jaime Bailey said.

By preparing and planning in advance, she said, "you have it when things happen."

Some of the classes offered Saturday also provided tips on how to survive life's mini disasters.

Sgt. Kent Swanson of the Shelley Police Department led a session on protecting your home.

Swanson's bottom line: Don't be a victim.

"Property crimes are crimes of opportunity. Turn on some lights, trim back the bushes (so your view from inside the house is not obstructed), lock your doors and lock your car," he said.

The idea is to create the illusion that someone is always there -- always watching.

"That's why motion (lights) are a great thing. The light switches on and the (would-be robber) doesn't know if it was a (motion senor) or someone inside flicked a switch," he said.

Daren Yancey is a wholesale distributor for Eden Valley Farms, which offers a variety of long-term storage foods. Yancey said his products feature the finest ingredients and come with a guaranteed shelf life of 25 years.

For a $1,500 wholesale investment, a buyer can take home a year's worth of meals.

Yancey's brochure put it this way: People buy automobile insurance, health insurance and homeowner's insurance they never may use -- without hope of ever receiving a refund.

"Why wouldn't you purchase food insurance as well? I mean squirrels store food, right? So why not us?" the brochure said. "Not only will you have insurance and peace of mind in a volatile world, but you can eat and enjoy this investment anytime."

Yancey put it this way.

Some people choose to go to Disneyland and not worry about what the future may hold. "I tell them get prepared (and) then go to Disneyland," he said.

Mike Mooney can be reached at 542-6764.